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Beginning the process

Within a month, the IHK FOSA will confirm receipt of the application and will request the submission of any missing documents.

Course of the process

Within the scope of the equivalency determining process, the IHK FOSA will check whether there are substantial differences between the qualifications gained abroad and the German reference qualification. 

The main criteria for comparison are the content and duration of education and the question as to whether any differing knowledge and skills are crucial for practising the respective profession in Germany. Complete conformance with the German reference profession is therefore unnecessary. 

If there are fundamental differences between the foreign and German education, the IHK FOSA will decide whether these differences can be compensated by proven professional experience or additional evidence of competence (e.g. further education).

The IHK FOSA verifies equivalency based on the documents presented but it can also take advantage of other methods and sources of information (e.g. research in the country of origin). If the documentation is insufficient for an examination of equivalency, the applicant can be requested to provide additional information (e.g. training regulations or other documents which could provide information concerning the content and duration of the foreign education).

Completion of the process

After completing the equivalency determining process, the IHK FOSA will prepare an official and legally binding notification. In general, the following results are possible:

  • If there are no substantial differences between the foreign vocational qualification and the German reference qualification, full equivalency is certified.
  • If there are substantial differences but there is also comparable content, then the IHK FOSA will certify partial equivalency. The certificate will describe the qualifications gained and the essential differences to the German reference profession. This makes it possible for the applicant to pursue targeted further education in order to compensate for the deficits and possibly submit a new application at a later date.
  • If it was not possible to determine any equivalency between the foreign vocational qualification and the German reference qualification, the application will be rejected and no description of the gained qualification will be given.

If the matter cannot be clarified, e.g. because the applicant fails to co-operate, the application will be rejected.

From partial equivalence to full recognition

In the case of partial equivalence, you can offset the differences by attending compensation measures (practical training, work experience, training courses) in order to compensate missing skills. Thereafter it is possible to submit a subsequent application within five years to get a full recognition of professional qualifications.

If you have a partial recognition of your qualification, contact please your regional Chamber of Industry and Commerce or another recognition counseling in order to find out what kind of compensation measures you can attend. You can also get some Information from the IHK FOSA.

Duration of the process

In accordance with Section 6, Para. 3 BQFG, equivalency determining processes must always be completed within 3 months. 

In difficult cases, the duration period can be extended once. As soon as the IHK FOSA has received all required documents in full, the procedure takes no longer than three months.